When I was looking to buy my Quickie Salsa in 2012 I had to go to a new supplier. I’ve used them ever since.
It’s a family business and the guy who owns it brought me the demo chair out. He told me a bit about the business, a lot about the chair, and a few stories. The chair they did this to, the customer they did that for. About the techs going to rescue people whose chairs broke down and giving people a lift home if they were local and could get in a van. And one mostly irrelevant story about a friend of his with Spina Bifida.
Sometime later a friend of mine was looking for a new manual. She ended up buying from a different supplier but she looked at chairs with the one I use and spoke to the owner. Who told her his stories, the same as he did me. Including the “friend with Spina Bifida” one.
They were obviously something he told a lot of people.
Fast forward 6 years and I haven’t seen him for most of that time as his son deals with repairs and was the one who sold me my Jive. But yesterday he took some chairs out for a friend to trial. She’s nothing like local to me. And they’re Oxfordshire based but on the other side of the county. So neither of them knew the other knows me.
He started telling her the story of a customer, living in Didcot, who got caught in the rain a couple of months ago. It waterlogged the joystick which caused it to trip and need to be replaced. At which point she asked “Was that Emma Crees?”
It was me.
In the six years I’ve known them I’ve done a lot with my chairs, meaning they’ve done a lot to my chairs. Broken things to fix, and worn out things to replace. I find they tend to be very good at getting out quickly when it’s urgent and great in a crisis. But can keep me waiting when it’s routine – probably because the prioritise emergencies.
And I’ve heard versions of “we would expect that to wear out but maybe not this soon” and “I’ve not seen one this badly broke before” after many of my mishaps and misadventures.
I was a bit taken aback to discover I’ve become one of the owner’s stories. But I’m now wondering how many of their staff have a “customer who…” story that’s actually about me.
For the record I am the one who got caught in the rain, the one whose joystick poured water all over the tech when he disconnected it. The one who fell out of her chair on a moving minibus while strapped in. The one keeps breaking gas struts. And who had the tech muttering “hit a train?!” in a bemused tone after an incident on the tube last year (I hit something on the train as I boarded)
But I’m also the one who in between the fails has been to more places in my chairs than I can remember. Hugged friends, drunk cocktails. Advised CAB clients and advocated for my rights. Laughed and lived and to use an Instagram phrase, made memories.